Coronavirus (COVID-19): FAQs

Latest information from the College.

This page has been set up to provide updates on decisions taken by the college and information for incoming and returning students who have questions about the effect of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on College life. It will be updated on a regular basis.

Last reviewed 15 March 2021.

We are incredibly grateful for the creativity and flexibility that our staff and students have shown responding to these unprecedented and challenging times. We also give thanks for the innovative mission and ministry that so many are offering within their communities, workplaces, churches and local contexts. 

Although this season offers a range of opportunities and new possibilities for learning and formation, we are also aware that for many it is undoubtedly challenging and draining, and is placing extraordinary demands on staff and students across the College. We would ask that you be kind and compassionate to one another as faithful stewards of God’s grace. We have sought to adapt our teaching and delivery in response to student feedback and consultation in order to provide the best student and learning experience possible.

What are the College’s plans for the 2021/22 academic year?

For the 2021/22 academic year, plans will be developed in line with emerging government guidance and regulations, and informed by our learning and experience from this academic year. Whilst we are optimistic and pleased by the road map outlined by the government on 22 February for the easing of Covid restrictions, we note that the dates published are provisional and subject to changes should the government’s 4 key criteria not be met. We are intending to communicate regarding plans for teaching delivery in the academic year 2021/22 in July when we hope to have a clearer understanding of the impact of government guidance on delivery plans.

The below information relates to the academic year 2020/21.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the College’s plans for the 2020/21 academic year?

While we all long to be back together in person, we are mindful of our moral and ethical duty to ensure the safety not only of staff and students but also our wider communities, as well as adhering to government guidance and regulations.

In the shift to online delivery, we have sought to maintain the excellent quality of both our academic and formational standards in teaching and learning to ensure that students continue to flourish. This also includes student support, academic development, and learning resources. With any plans made, flexibility is also necessary, allowing the College to respond quickly to changing external and internal circumstances.

Whilst we will ensure online delivery of teaching is available throughout the term, our intention has been to set the foundations for a return to face-to-face teaching when possible and if relevant criteria are met (as published below). This will likely vary by centre and depend on any regional or venue restrictions. At present we also anticipate that if we are able to offer any in person provision anyone attending will be required to obtain a lateral flow or PCR test prior.

We are also mindful that movement of students in order to access teaching poses a risk for the transmission of the virus – particularly because of the higher prevalence and rates of transmission of new variants and will be seeking to make wise decisions in light of this.

What are the timings for my delivery day/evening in Trinity term?

Teaching timetables will follow the same rhythm and timings as Epiphany term with one item of preparation to complete in advance of the teaching days:

  • Daytime input (London Monday, North West, South West & East Midlands)
    • 9.30am-10.00am: Worship
    • Undergraduate:
      • 10.00am-10.45am: Break
      • 10.45am-11.45am: Lecture / Part 1
      • 11.45am-12.00pm: Break
      • 12.00pm-1pm: Lecture / Part 2
    • Postgraduate (MA) – this will run as usual:
      • 10:00-11am: Module A
      • 11:00-11:30am: Break
      • 11:30am-1pm: Module B
    • 1pm-2pm: Lunch Break
    • 2-4pm: Afternoon Programme

For Trinity Term, teaching will  continue to be delivered on Thursday evenings for Chelmsford Centre students.

  • Evening input (London Tuesday & Chelmsford Thursday)
    • 7.00pm-7.30pm: Worship
    • 7.30pm-8.30pm: Lecture / Part 1
    • 8:30pm-8:40pm: Break
    • 8:40pm-9.15pm: Lecture / Part 2

Preparatory Work

Prep reading and prep work will be combined into one item of preparation. It will be expected that all students complete this before the teaching day. Full-time students will have a short time slot available before lectures to review  and prepare for the live lecture.

Will there be any on-site activity alongside online delivery?

Whilst we will ensure online delivery of teaching is available throughout Trinity term, our intention has been to set the foundations for a return to face-to-face teaching when possible and if relevant criteria are met. Where a centre has a locally available lecturer with the relevant subject matter expertise, they may choose to trial face-to-face teaching for particular lectures during the term. This will be offered for those students who wish to attend in-person teaching. At present we also anticipate that if we are able to offer any in person provision anyone attending will be required to obtain a lateral flow or PCR test prior.

What are the criteria for in-person gatherings?

Any on-site activity this academic year is subject to the following requirements: 

Essential:

  • In-person gatherings adhere to government guidance and testing requirements for higher education insitutions
  • The site in question permits on-site activity
  • Staff and student safety is not compromised
  • Staff and students can make suitable travel arrangements and within government guidelines
  • Site staff (e.g. vergers) have the right protocols in place
  • In-person attendance is optional for students and staff during the period in which any trial meetings are held
  • The Covid-19 risk assessment is completed

Preferable:

  • Any small group is not below 5 in number for viability
  • Schools to be fully open

Please note that on-site activity may be cancelled at short notice. The College will aim to communicate with as much advance warning as possible.

Can I still gain access to the College’s libraries or borrow books?

At present students are unable to access to physical libraries. However re-opening will be considered in light of the College’s phased return to its buildings. In order to support student learning online, all bibliographies have been updated to reflect the College’s growing digital resource provision.

What Academic Development is available online?

The Academic Development team have created an online version of the academic development programme. Pre-recorded and live Zoom academic development seminars are available both for specific cohorts as well as for general attendance. The Academic Development Tutor is also available for one-on-one tutorials anytime during the week via Zoom. The Academic Development Tutor will also conduct occasional surgeries o supplement the online pre-recorded material. 

What provision is there to meet with a College Chaplain or Counsellor?

The College Chaplains and the College Counsellor are available for students to book individual online one-on-one sessions throughout the week. All students should contact their Centre Coordinator for information on how to book a session.

What is the plan for ordinand residentials in Trinity term?

We have been informed that in light of the government's roadmap for easing restrictions, CCT who operate High Leigh and The Hayes residential venues, will not be opening until 1 July and therefore we will be unable to hold the residential weekend there as we had hoped.

The team is exploring alternative venue options as well as possible online delivery and we will communicate once we have further clarity on what will be possible and feasible in line with government regulations.

Ordinands are asked to keep the dates clear in diaries for the whole weekend and inform church placements and family members as relevant.

What is the plan for the teaching week in Trinity term?

Teaching Week 2 will go ahead as planned from 12th –16th April 2021 online for independent undergraduates and postgraduates (12th only). Each day will begin with Zoom worship at 9am, closing with evening prayer at 5pm and Compline at 9pm. Lectures will run 9.30am-5pm as timetabled according to students’ programmes of study.

What about the social side of College life?

All Centres have offered an online local induction for incoming students; some online ‘social’ space on mid-week teaching days or evenings as relevant; a buddy system which groups incoming students with returning students to share and build College community and culture; and online socials.

What about the worshipping life of the College?

As per usual the College will root its study of theology in the context of worship and prayer midweek, at residentials and at teaching week.

How will the College support ordinands in their placements?

All ordinands and supervisors were briefed at online Supervisor Days/Evenings in September regarding realistic expectations for time in context (not least in relation to the need for ordinands to be able to give half their time each week to academic study).

In addition to the annual placement meeting, Formation Group Tutors will be in regular contact with their students and their supervisors, and (as in the usual course of business) continue to arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

I’m a full-time ordinand. What will my formational programme look like?

A timetabled Leadership for Healthy Churches  programme of online input (2-4pm following the current timetable) has been provided across all centres. Contributors (whether internal or external) have been asked to provide live teaching on Zoom (or pre-recorded content if necessary) including interaction between students and speaker. Formation Groups (or, where size permits, student year groups) will then meet online to discuss, contextualise and apply the content further and to provide further regular check in points for Formation Group Tutors with their students.

The timetabled programme of input will be largely centre specific but will include some sessions delivered across multiple centres.

I’m a part-time ordinand. What will my formational programme look like?

Formation Group Tutors will schedule online sessions with their Formation Group. Additionally, part-time ordinands have access to additional recorded content which Formation Group Tutors can also make use of.

What is happening with the youth ministry programme and placements?

Youth Ministry students have joined with the student body on a Monday as usual, beginning with worship and morning teaching provision. As afternoon teaching is also accredited under Middlesex for the Theology and Youth Ministry programme, Youth Ministry specific modules and Formation Groups take place online between 2.30pm and 4pm each week. These afternoon lectures and seminars also have preparatory work to complete beforehand.

We recognise that the placement element for Youth Ministry students will have taken on a variety of new and adapted shapes during lockdown and in the ongoing transition back into face to face ministry. It is important therefore to ensure that Mondays and your other weekly study day are protected as much as possible at this time.

All Youth Ministry students and supervisors have been briefed at the online Supervisor Day in September regarding realistic expectations for time in their placement context. In addition to the usual annual placement visit, Formation Group Tutors will have have regular contact with their students and their supervisors, and (as in the usual course of business) continue to arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

The Lead Tutor for Youth Ministry, Alice Smith is your key contact point for any queries not covered elsewhere in this guide.

I’m a full-time undergraduate student. What will my afternoon programme look like?

A timetabled Leadership for Healthy Churches programme of online input (2-4pm following the current timetable) has been provided across all centres. Contributors (whether internal or external) have been asked to provide live teaching on Zoom (or pre-recorded content if necessary) including interaction between students and speaker. Formation Groups (or, where size permits, student year groups) will then meet online to discuss, contextualise and apply the content further and to provide further regular check in points for Formation Group Tutors with their students.

The timetabled programme of input will be largely centre specific but will include some sessions delivered across multiple centres.

What if I’m a part-time undergraduate?

Formation Groups will continue to meet online and tutors will continue to be available if you have any queries.

What if I’m a Peter Stream student?

During Trinity term the Peter Stream will be delivered online via Zoom at the following times:

For Monday Students
  • 9:30am Worship
  • 10am Session One (Discernment, Life & Study Skills)
  • 11am Coffee Break
  • 11:30am Session Two (Theology)
For Tuesday Students
  • 6pm Session one (Discernment, Life & Study Skills)

  • 7pm Break
  • 7:15pm (optional worship)
  • 7:30pm Session Two (Theology)

If you have any questions about Peter Stream delivery in the autumn term then please contact PeterStream@stmellitus.ac.uk

What if I’m a Beginning Theology student?

Beginning Theology will have Formation Group time online as per the timetable. 

What if I’m an LLM student?

Academic and formational work for all LLM students will continue as scheduled in the current timetable but online. Additionally, LLMs will have access to recorded content which Formation Group Tutors may make use of in the context of Formation Group time.

What if I’m a postgraduate?

Postgraduate formation groups will continue to meet online throughout the Trinity term. Dissertation supervision will happen as normal, with meetings held on Zoom. The Graduate Tutor will also hold weekly virtual office hours if students have queries.

My question’s not been answered. Who should I contact?

If you have another question, please contact info@stmellitus.ac.uk.